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Sandy • The difference was clear, right from the outset, and as stark as the colors of the teams' uniforms.
New Jersey's Don Bosco Prep was as fast and brilliant as white lightning.
Alta was battered in black.
The Hawks were overmatched in the nightcap of the Xfinity Challenge on Saturday night in a 52-24 blowout at the hands of the nationally ranked Ironmen.
"We knew they were going to be a handful," Alta receiver Mack Richards said. "We felt like we had a good gameplan coming in, and we did. We just didn't execute early."
The momentum from the Jordan-St. John Bosco thriller in the first game of the second annual doubleheader at Rio Tinto Stadium fizzled by the second quarter of the one-sided second game.
With Division I college prospects at seemingly every position, Don Bosco (3-1) put its size, speed and overall athletic edge on display. The Ironmen were here, there and everywhere, as they built a 31-0 halftime lead.
Running back Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks blew past Alta's secondary for touchdown runs of 43 and 48 yards. Receiver Isaih Hill caught a Frank Nutile pass in stride for a 58-yard score. Defensive linemen Alquadin Muhammad and Brandon Washington repeatedly hounded Hawks quarterback Chipper Lucero.
"They've lost one game in five years," Alta coach Bob Stephens said of the Ramsey, N.J., school. "We knew we had a great challenge in front of us. And we come out and shoot ourselves in the foot early."
Alta's first half to forget included three interceptions one returned for a touchdown on the game's third offensive play a blocked field-goal attempt and one drive past midfield.
"At halftime, that was my big focus," Stephens said. "I told them regardless of the win or loss, they had two options they can come out and quit or come out and fight."
The Hawks (5-2) did indeed demonstrate some fight. Richards scored three touchdowns two on receptions of 7 and 11 yards and an 87-yard kickoff return on the game's final play.
Lucero found a rhythm after a first half in which he completed just 9 of 23 passes for 96 yards. In the second half, he connected with Ammon Barker for long catch-and-run plays, and used his scrambling ability to prolong plays and wait for receivers to slip away from the secondary.
"Their secondary's good," Stephens said. "They're the best we've ever faced. Their speed is very good, especially their [defensive backs]."
Lucero finished 23 of 41 for 309 yards and three scores, including a 9-yard pass in the fourth quarter to Logan Harrison.
Alta outscored Don Bosco 24-21 in the second half.
"We scored 24 points off a top-20 team," Richards said. "This gives us a boost going back to region and finishing strong."
Storylines Don Bosco 52, Alta 24
R Alta QB Chipper Lucero throws three interceptions in the first half.
• New Jersey's Don Bosco Prep runs out to a 31-0 lead at halftime, with a pick-six on the game's third offensive play.